Federal trucking law requires that all truck loads be secured safely in order to minimize the risk of debris falling off the truck an injuring other people on the road. Unfortunately, federal laws don’t apply to vehicles outside of the commercial trucking industry. This means that anyone can haul a load of furniture or an appliance across town or across the state, however, the same dangers exist if they fail to properly secure the load they are traveling with and can cause serious or catastrophic injuries to victims who end up injured as a result.
Accidents caused by unsecured road debris are more common than you may think. In fact, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), there are approximately 50,000 crashes caused by truck debris each year. These accidents are responsible for more than 100 deaths each year and more almost 10,000 injured victims. In about two-thirds of those crashes, an improperly secured load was the cause of the debris. These are the statistics for federally registered vehicles. It does not calculate the number of road debris crashes caused by debris that has fallen off of trucks, SUVs, vans, and trailers.
Unsecured Load Accidents
Many drivers have experienced the shock of having a small rock hit your windshield as they are driving down the highway. That force that rock hits can cause a chip in the glass. Now imagine that instead of a rock it is a patio chair being transported by a pickup truck in front of you. If you are lucky, you are able to swerve your vehicle so that the chair does not hit your vehicle and there are no other vehicles around you when you do.
However, too many times, there are other vehicles around when a driver swerves to avoid being hit by an unsecured load, causing a serious crash. Or they are unable to avoid hitting the object, again causing an accident. There are also incidents where the object is large enough and the force so strong that it smashes through the windshield and into the vehicle, often with tragic results.
As mentioned above, these accidents often result in serious and catastrophic injuries. Some of the more common injuries our car accident attorneys have seen in the unsecured load accidents we have successfully represented include the following:
- Amputation or dismemberment
- Broken bones
- Facial fractures or disfigurement
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Permanent disability
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
When a victim suffers a serious or severe injury in an accident, the financial losses they suffer can be devastating. In many cases, the victim is unable to work while they recover from their injuries. This means they can lose both wages and benefits. If the injury is severe enough, they can be left with a permanent disability or chronic medical condition that leaves them unable to go back to their old job.
In addition to the lost wages, there are high medical expenses for treatment of their injuries. A victim can pursue for damages for these economic losses, but they can also pursue damages for pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of life enjoyment. If the victim dies from their injury, their family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for the accident.
Call a Virginia Accident Attorney Today
The state of Virginia has one of the strictest statutes in the country. If a driver is found guilty of having an unsecured load in their car or truck, they can be fined up to $2,500. If there is an accident that happens as the result of the debris, and someone is injured or killed, the driver can be arrested and charged criminally for that crash, in addition to violating the unsecured load law.
When debris falls from an improperly or unsecured load and causes an accident that injures or kills someone, the victim or victim’s family should contact an experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney to see what legal recourse they may have against the negligent driver.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in this type of crash, call Shapiro, Appleton, & Washburn today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a member of our legal team and find out how we can help you get the financial justice you deserve.
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